How do you see the 5G related preparations of telecom operators?
The 5G commercial launch has been delayed as compared to many other countries. But, the advantage which India has both for telcos and industries is that there is so much learning which can come to India. Capgemini and many of these global MNCs play a crucial role because when we work on similar projects in other countries and in other regions like Europe, America and Asia Pacific, all of this knowledge is then kind of readily available to us in India.
And, a lot of these projects are also actually delivered out of India. So, even the skills and the people’s capability are also very much in India. But then the fine tuning which is required is what works for India. The local customization will happen. India has had a very short phase of 5G trials. Now whenever 5G is commercially available India will go straight into a rollout of 5G and will see a quick adoption.
What sort of work Capgemini is doing with Indian telcos?
In the telco space, we are working with Airtel, which launched the 5G for business program and we are partnering with them. So, two of our use cases have actually been deployed in Airtel Manesar’s lab. Capgemini also works with many of the industry clients in India, many of them being our global MNC clients who have large R&D setups, global R&D IT hubs or operations based out of India.
How big is the 5G opportunity in the enterprise market?
5G will have an overarching impact on industries, on society and on people. So, all our lives will be impacted by 5G adoption into the enterprises. We as end consumers work with different varieties of businesses and enterprises in our day-to-day lives. Our day-to-day work, the health services which we take, the society, its safety, the transportation, when all of these industries get impacted by 5G automatically it impacts us as a society and impacts the whole economy. 5G for enterprises is the true KPI and that’s the true potential.
What are your views on 5G private networks? Should enterprises be getting the spectrum or telcos should get all the spectrum?
Private networks are one of the solution options of 5G. So, when you look at industries there are certain key capabilities which are very specific. Safety, security and the protection of their data are some of the key demands. So, a private network in 5G is one solution which ensures that all the data and all the connectivity which is there in the particular enterprise campus stays within the campus and doesn’t go out. This is not possible in a macro network or in a telco network because in a telco network, it will be ubiquitously available, and anybody can use it or latch it. And hence private networks are one of the key solution offerings with respect to 5G for its adoption towards industries.
With that comes the question as to who should own the spectrum. The key issue is that there should be enough spectrum available. If there is enough availability, it really doesn’t matter how and in what way the spectrum is distributed. If the spectrum is available in good volumes and is economically viable, I think the problem will be solved.
Also, the adoption of 5G for industries is an ecosystem play. Having their own spectrum just gives them better control and better surety on their plans and the dependency goes down. For example, I am an enterprise who is running a big operation, if I have a sure shot spectrum for a 10-year period, then that just gives me more surety and guarantee of being able to manage my operations and that also with a connectivity component which is very integral and key for my operations.
So, even if the spectrum is available with an industry player, I don’t see the situation where the telcos will not be working with the industry in facilitating that. Because let us be very clear, the industry will use 5G as a connectivity, and it’s just not 5G, it is with hybrid cloud, edge computing, IoT, and all other technologies together. 5G connectivity is not their core operations or their core business. And the telcos will always have a role and some contribution to make in this irrespective of whether they own the spectrum, or the spectrum is with the industry.
Which are the vertical sectors you think will be the first to adopt 5G technology?
Globally we see industry 4.0, including manufacturing, energy, utilities and operations like mining, which are leading 5G adoption. Though, there’s an interest in all sectors.
In India, in addition to manufacturing, healthcare would be another area which will have a huge impact and something which is very-very powerful for India. So, healthcare would be the other one. The third one will be the inclusive development for India and inclusive connectivity where we could hopefully bridge the divide between rural and urban parts of the country. Here, applications like education will be important. There will be new use cases from rural parts of the country. Hopefully connectivity will be the means of rural transformation for India.
How do you plan to tap the opportunity in India?
As the industries are becoming more digital and are undergoing a transformation, our key go-to-market pitch is basically an intelligent industry where we see that both data and automation is driving a lot of intelligence in the industry. We truly believe that 5G and edge is a key component and enabler and an accelerator for the industry becoming more data driven, more digital and more automated and hence becoming more intelligent.
We have one of the widest offerings when it comes to 5G and edge. And this is further strengthened with our integration of Altran. So, for 5G and edge, we offer consulting, solutions and services to the industry clients around 5G edge related digital transformation. Also, with the Altran integration, we have very strong core 5G and edge engineering and R&D capabilities, which includes network components, which includes software frameworks, platforms and those. And, systems integration and working with our ecosystem of partners and end-to-end solutioning is another key offering from us and whatever is planned, designed and built also has to be run, so we also have an offering towards managed operations of 5G networks and 5G solutions.
What role does labs play for Capgemini for 5G? You partnered with Ericsson for such a lab in Mumbai.
Capgemini has a global network of labs. We currently have three labs globally. One of course in Mumbai, and then we have one in Paris, which is our headquarters. We have another one in Portugal and a fourth one is actually coming up in America.
All of these labs are primarily industry focused labs. We kind of identify our lab focus in two aspects. One is 5G technology or 5G network focus lab and then the other is industry focus lab. With the industry focus lab, we are primarily experimenting with innovating the application of 5G into industrial operations. So these labs actually replicate a lab environment of an enterprise architecture and 5G becomes an integral connectivity piece in that architecture. All these labs, we kind of set up the 5G connectivity and the 5G network using our strategic partners. We have a different partner, Casa Solutions, in Paris, and we are hosting the Qualcomm based solution in our Portugal lab.